What can I do to encourage "good" piping?
First and foremost, you must get rid of your stereotypes and assumptions. Some common ones are bashed here:
Encourage performers at all levels with applause and kind words. This is what makes the hard work all worthwhile. It's generally considered a great honor to the performing musician for the audience to clap or tap their foot in time with the music. Do it when you feel so moved (but don't interfere in a judged event!). Most performers will work twenty to fifty hours for a twenty minute performance.
Ask questions and inquire about progress in their studies. Most performers will jump at the opportunity to share what they know and discuss their latest endeavors with you. As a listener, you'll learn more by talking to the performer.
Become knowledgeable spectators by learning about the art. An informed audience actually encourages the performer to work hard and show his/her skill. Buy recordings and become familiar with them. You will find that there are many terrific tunes other than "Amazing Grace" and "Scotland the Brave". Consider taking the time to develop a knowledge of different tunes and then ask to hear a favorite. You may not get it during this show, but you'll almost always get it at a later performance. By asking for a tune, you encourage the performer to learn more!
Get your local Scottish society to encourage participation by pipers. An informal recital fifteen minutes before the beginning of the meeting can be a strong motivator for a beginning or intermediate player.
Consider being a sponsor for a prize at a local highland festival. It doesn't take a lot of money and the prize is a terrific motivator!Copyright S.K. MacLeod 1996-2016